September 13, 2002

Lincs go first class again

Lincolnshire CCC

For the second year running, Lincs earned a third round Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy tie against a First Class county.

But this time it was a close call as Cheshire came within four runs of snatching victory at Neston - and it was the final over bowled by captain Mark Fell which denied the home side the coveted third round clash.

Earlier, having won the toss, Fell opened the batting with Cleethorpes' overseas player Shane Deitz and the pair attacked the Cheshire bowling right from the first ball.

Having put on 57 in a handful of overs, both were then dismissed, Fell bowled for 29 and Deitz lbw for 21 but this brought together Martyn Dobson and Richard Howitt who kept the momentum going with a stand of 84. And when Howitt was bowled for 31, the reliable Jonathan Trower joined Dobson in a partnership of 103 that ended when Dobson was caught for 90, which came off 118 balls.

When Trower was stumped, having hit 67 off 54 balls, Lincs were 264 for five and at the close the total had reached 281 for seven.

Simon Oakes and Jonathan Davies then denied Cheshire the chance to match Lincs' flying start, both opening with maidens, and despite a first wicket stand of 122 between Currie and Bryson, the home side fell well behind the run rate.

However, the dismissal of Bryson for 59, stumped off Dobson, saw Hignett's arrival the crease and this turned the game, the number three hitting 84 off 56 balls and adding 122 with Currie before being bowled by Fell.

Cheshire had 261 on the board when the third wicket went but the home side then lost the next three for the addition of only eight runs, Fell dismissing Currie for 94 and Oakes claiming his only victim.

Fell struck again with the score on 274 and as he came in to bowl the last ball, the Lincs captain knew that, with a faster scoring rate off the first six overs, only a six from the batsman could lose his side the game. But instead the bails came off to give Fell four for 20 off five overs as Cheshire finished 277 for eight.

Lincs now face several weeks wait to learn who they will face in the third round of the competition next May.